Foreign firm invests N200bn in Nigeria's mortgage sector
In what appeared a major boost to current drives by the federal and state governments to provide affordable housing for Nigerians, Cantor Fitzgerald, a global investment firm with expertise in asset-backed mortgage securities, yesterday entered into a pact with the Federal Government on $1 billion (about N200bn) investment in the Nigerian mortgage sector.
This is just as the foreign company also unveiled plans to build 10,000 houses in Kaduna, Lagos, Enugu and Abuja within the next one year.
Giving assurances of its planned investment in the sector during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with Prof Charles Inyangette, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company, NMRC, in a ceremony presided over by Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in Abuja, the company's representative, Mr Jack Heffernan, Managing Director of the firm's Debt Capital Markets Division, said arrangements had been made to commence actualisation of the multi-billion naira projects.
Heffernan described the NMRC as 'exactly the right business model to bring liquidity to Nigeria's housing sector.'
In her remarks, Okonjo- Iweala said the entry of such an important player into Nigeria's mortgage sector was yet another signal that the present administration's vision on making affordable housing available to Nigerians was earning the confidence of serious international investors.
The Minister said the prospects of achieving the core vision of the NMRC, which is to get young Nigerians convenient access to the means of owning their own homes, was being achieved.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government had over the past year emphasised the strategic roles mortgage financing could play in current drive towards bridging the housing deficit, estimated at about 17 million units in the country.
For instance, after noting that initial offer of 10,000 mortgage applications was over-subscribed by 66,402 last year, the government instructed the 17 Primary Mortgage Institutions, PMIs, and four Deposit Money Banks, DMBs, participating in the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC) housing programme to immediately commence processing of the over 66,000 applications for the initially offered 10,000 mortgage applications.
Okonjo-Iweala then directed the participating MFIs and DMBs in the mortgage financing programme to share the 66,402 applications among themselves and prequalify those who met the criteria for accessing mortgage facilities under the NMRC initiative and report back to government within eight weeks.
The Minister explained that the President was monitoring the implementation process, just as she assured both mortgage institutions and applicants that there was enough fund to finance the 66,000 applications. - National Mirror.